Champions League Betting Breakdown: Who’s The Best Bet?


The UEFA Champions League final isn’t until the spring, with Group Stage action returning to the pitch at the end of this month. Any smart punter will tell you now is the best time to buy Champions League futures, before oddsmakers trim those prices as the field shrinks.

We take a look at the top four favorites at the best sports betting sites to be crowned the champion of champions in San Siro, Milan on May 28, 2016.

Barcelona (3/1) – If you’re betting on sheer star power, none come brighter than Barcelona. Headlined by the trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez, Barca can overwhelm any opponent with its stunning playmaking and ability to finish. The one knock against them is complacency. Barcelona won the Champions League title last season, which makes for a lot of extra games on top of the regular league schedule, and we’ve already seen them slip a bit, posting a 1-1 draw against Roma in Group E action earlier this month.

Bayern Munich (4/1) – Bayern are bowling over Bundesliga opposition, tallying 20 goals in just six league games so far this season. In the Champions League table, Bayern Munich smashed Olympiacos 3-0 in the opening game of Group F play. They have the talent and experience to make another run at the title – winning two years ago – but a lot of focus is on manager Pep Guardiola, whose contract runs out at the end of the year and is rumored to be in line for the Manchester City job.

Real Madrid (9/2) – As long as Cristiano Ronaldo is on the pitch, Real Madrid has a shot to win any game. He already has a Champions League-leading five goals, including a hattrick in the 4-0 victory against Shakhtar Donetsk of the Ukraine in the Group A opener. The wild card for Real could be Karim Benzema, who has lit it up in La Liga play with goals in each of his first five games.

Chelsea (9/1) – Chelsea’s early struggles in the Barclays, a 2-3-1 record in their first six games, puffed their Champions League odds to as high as 10/1 before coming back down following a 4-0 beat down of Maccabi Tel Aviv in their opener of Group G play. Chelsea is well managed with Jose Mourinho on the sidelines, with him leading Porto to a title in 2003-04 and Inter Milan to a Champions League crown in 2009-10.

Time For Everton’s Ross Barkley To Shine In Merseyside Derby!


Everton recorded a fine 3-2 victory over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, a great result with city rivals Liverpool up next for the Toffees.

Roberto Martinez will have been extremely pleased with his teams great fightback, coming from two goals down to seal the win over WBA and sending them up to fifth in the league.

Seeing Romelu Lukaku back amongst the goals and wing wizard Gerard Deulofeu shining in the second half would have been big positives for the Everton gaffer.

The Spaniard was also boosted by the performance of his young full-back; Brendan Galloway. The nineteen year old has had to step up since a recurring ankle injury has sidelined Leighton Baines for the foreseeable future.

Midfield maestro Ross Barkley had a bit of a subdued performance. That has been unlike the England international this season. He didn’t do much wrong, but struggled to have a real influence on the game.

Barkley has blossomed into a fine number ten this season and has been pretty consistent this term too.

So far Ross has played every minute of Everton’s Barclay’s Premier League campaign and he’s contributed with two goals and three assists.

The Toffees need Barkley at his dazzling best when they host Liverpool for Sunday’s Merseyside derby.

When the twenty-one year old has the ball at his feet, he runs at defenders and he glides past them he reminds me a lot of Paul Gascoigne. Dribbling is a fine art and it has been fading away a bit in the British game but Barkley’s fine ball control has meant that it has returned at Goodison. Defenders are often too scared to put a foot in as they know chances are that he can skip past them and draw in a foul in a dangerous position.

He’s also a player who doesn’t go hiding away from the ball. He will always look to receive it and then look for the right pass. Having two midfield generals like James McCarthy and the evergreen Gareth Barry in behind him gives Barkley more of a free role and license to attack!

The fact that Everton’s first-team trust Ross with a lot of their set-pieces shows that his talents and ability to spot a pass are well respected and appreciated by his peers. The Toffees support already idolise him and he seems to relish playing with that responsibility and love for his talents.

Against Chelsea, Barkley gave a highly accomplished display in a big game. His precise passing and ability to drive forward had Chelsea’s defence spinning. Against Liverpool and then Manchester United the attacking midfielder needs to show that the Chelsea game wasn’t a one off!

The difference between good creative players and great ones is all about consistency. You need to show that you can dictate things in important games more often than not. Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes managed that, and thats the level Ross Barkley has to be aiming for.

I said at the start of this season that the young magician had to look at reaching double figures both in terms of goals and assists. He’s started off extremely well, now he needs to continue to influence the bigger games too.

Barkley certainly has the ability and now is the perfect time to show that he really can reach his full potential and down local adversaries Liverpool and keep his club ahead of their biggest rivals!

Who Are The Leading Candidates To Win The FA Cup This Season?


The FA Cup is one of football’s oldest and most prestigious club competitions and many of England’s top teams will be looking to win the trophy this season. Arsenal have won the competition in each of the past two seasons and Arsene Wenger will be looking to earn a third successive victory as he edges closer to retirement.

There are a number of big clubs who will be fancying their chances of winning the tournament this season. To reach the final, which will be held at Wembley, the top Premier League sides will have to negotiate five rounds before booking their place in May’s showpiece event. Here are some of the top contenders for this year’s competition.

Manchester City

Manuel Pellegrini’s men are currently second in the Premier League and, despite losing three of their last four matches in all competitions, have shown plenty of quality in the early stages of the campaign. City have an exceptionally talented squad and they are capable of beating any of England’s elite clubs on their day.

Although they are still very reliant on the form and fitness of Vincent Kompany, summer signing Nicolas Otamendi is beginning to adapt to the pace and physicality of the Premier League and the Blues will be a serious contender once they sort their current defensive deficiencies out.


Liverpool have endured an inconsistent start to the season as manager Brendan Rodgers has struggled to cope with the significant amount of pressure on his shoulders at the club. The Northern Irishman spent over £70 million in the summer but the Reds are playing predictable, easy-to-defend-against football.

They will be a force in the cup competitions though and Liverpool reached the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and Capital One Cup last season. At the time of publication, they are priced at 10/1 to win the FA Cup this campaign and you can keep up with all the latest FA Cup action at Coral.


While many Gunners supporters will want their side to challenge for the Premier League title this season, they would be more than happy to win the FA Cup for a third successive season after previously going ten years without a trophy. Arsene Wenger’s men are incredibly difficult to beat at the Emirates Stadium and a home draw would certainly help Arsenal’s cause.

As the defending champions, everybody is out to beat Arsenal and the Gunners must avoid complacency if they are drawn against lower league opposition. Last season, Manchester City and Chelsea were knocked out of the competition by Middlesbrough and Bradford City and Wenger will be keen to avoid a similar embarrassment this campaign.

Mark Warburton Has To Get Used To Rangers Criticism


Rangers returned to winning ways this weekend after they lost their first game of the season last Tuesday night.

After the Gers 4-0 away victory at Greenock Morton, boss Mark Warburton described the reaction to his sides 3-1 loss to St Johnstone in the League Cup as ‘over the top‘ and ‘disrespectful’.

Warburton also pointed out that his side had won twelve out of thirteen games so far this term and that too much was made of that one loss.

Welcome to Glasgow!

The criticism and the gloating from opposing supporters comes with the territory at Rangers.

Old Firm managers are expected to win matches, yes Rangers have been exciting to watch in the Championship and their supporters are loving the football but they are still only winning games that’s expected of them.

A defeat is always pounced upon, highlighted and picked apart.

Listen I remember Gers fans moaning about Walter Smith during his second stint in charge as he was leading them to a third top flight title in a row! So he should be thankful that his supporters are still fully behind him.

Against St Johnstone this new look Rangers side were up against a Premiership club for the first time since Warburton and David Weir arrived at Ibrox this summer.

So the League Cup tie was always going to be used as a yardstick.

But the thing is Rangers came up short against the Perth side. They looked very naive and a bit toothless.

They will have also been judged due to their great start to their league campaign and how impressive they have been.

So the fact is they were actually favourites to outgun St Johnstone even though they play in a higher tier.

And here’s the thing Mark, had your lads won that tie you’d not get the credit for that win either!

The Scottish media will always be on hand to bring Rangers back down to earth if they slip up and Mark Warburton has to get used to that.

The Englishman also said this to the press after the win against Morton:

“The players were ready for the challenge. They were riled by some of the comments, they trained really well and there was no doubt we were going to go out and start well.”

That’s the best way to deal with the inevitable critics that will some your way in the Scottish game, use it as a tool to get the best out of your players.

Don’t get bogged down by the critics in Glasgow because that won’t end well. Best just dust yourself down and carry on!

Manchester United Can Win This Premier League Title But Will Need Slice Of Luck!

Old Trafford Stadium, inside

After a long wait Manchester United finally reached the summit of the English Premier League once again.

Louis van Gaal’s men watched on as rivals Manchester City slipped up against Tottenham Hotspur, a few hours later United defeated bottom of the table side Sunderland 3-0 at Old Trafford. That win secured them top spot with a point separating them and City.

Hitting the leaders position so soon this term has surprised a few, and that may include the Man United manager himself.

At various times this term they’ve still looked a nervy and naive team.

In August they failed to beat Newcastle Utd at Old Trafford and looked blunt in front of goal. Against Swansea City they threw away a lead and ended up losing 2-1 to Garry Monk’s side.

They did the same thing in the Champions League when they lost out to PSV.

The same silly mistakes seem to creep into their play. The defensive players switch off and the forwards struggle to put away chances after sways of possession.

But the Red Devils have also picked up big home wins over Spurs and Liverpool. At times, even when they look ordinary they manage to turn things around and produce wins.

The signing of Anthony Martial has lifted the whole club.

The youngster has managed three goals in three league appearances. He has pace, power and natural talent that lights up a game and inspires teammates. You really get the feeling that with time the French forward could be a world-class hitman.

United fans love watching a talented young player develop into star. It happened with the class of 92′ and with Cristiano Ronaldo. The United faithful are hoping Martial can do the same at Old Trafford. His presence gives the whole club enthusiasm and hope.

But United captain Wayne Rooney needs to score more and take some of the pressure off young Anthony. Rooney finally ended his league goal drought yesterday but the side will need him to aim for around eighteen league strikes this term if they want to truly challenge for the Premier League championship this season.

I’d also expect more from new boy Memphis Depay as the year goes on. The Dutch wide-man has looked very good in spells but has to prove that he can be a game changer and if he can reach that level this term then United will look extremely strong come May!

The return of David de Gea in between the sticks has been a huge plus too. The Spaniard is capable of world-class saves and can inspire those in front of him. His stature adds an extra confidence within the team.

Former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson stated this earlier in the week:

“I think De Gea can win us the league,”

It certainly helps having a top quality goalkeeper in your side.

De Gea will be helped with having a much improved Chris Smalling playing ahead of him. The central defender has seen his career stall in recent years but has stepped up so far this campaign and looked commanding. The English international also seems to be developing a good understanding with his partner Daley Blind in beside him.

The squad will always be important to a title tilt, so Marcos Rojo and a fit again Phil Jones will need to show that they can easily come in and not look out of place when needed in defence.

New full-back Matteo Darmian has looked like a new Gary Neville and pretty consistent, apart from a nervy display in Eindhoven. Against Sunderland yesterday the Italian played on the left and did well but it will interesting to see if he can perform there against tougher opponents.

The reason for Darmian’s role on the left is due to Luke Shaw’s leg break in the Netherlands. That is a huge blow for both the player and the club as Luke looked in sensational form before his tragic injury. He’ll be out for at least six months and someone needs to nail down that position!

You’ve then got Michael Carrick, Juan Mata and Bastian Schweinsteiger who all offer vast winning experience and that could be crucial later on in the season. They have that special ability to dictate games and will all need to do that more often as the games get harder!

Then you have the likes of squad players like Morgan Schneiderlin, Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia. They all offer different things but can all be invaluable as United seek to win that twenty-first league title!

As this season has already proved, any side can take a point off another. You look at the table and get the feeling that Manchester United are the best of a bad bunch at this stage. No team has really got into a title inspiring run as yet!

Injures have hampered Man City, there seems to be self belief issues at Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs look pretty undercooked at large spells. While Chelsea are struggling to convince anyone that there’s not a crisis at Stamford Bridge.

Yes Man United are top at the moment but they too look very capable of tripping themselves up.

So it is time for legendary boss Louis van Gaal to prove that his experience really can count and steer his side away from any dodgy potholes or banana skins.

Of course Man Utd can win this league title but there is still a long way to go before that stage. They need to take each month as it comes and grind out victories, go on a confidence boosting run and show up against their rivals.

In October we should know more about their intent with clashes against Arsenal and Man City waiting for the current league leaders!

Overly Cautious Manchester City Hand Rivals The Initiative


Manchester City were very lacklustre and sluggish in their clash today against Tottenham Hotspur and ended up losing the Premier League fixture by four goals to one.

The match was strewn with mistakes from the officials but that doesn’t paper over the cracks that Man City showed during the ninety minutes.

Eyebrows were raised when the line-ups were announced and goalkeeper Joe Hart was dropped to the bench. City boss Manuel Pellegrini had stated before kick-off that his number one keeper had hardly trained all week.

But if Joe was fit enough to start on the bench, then surely he was fit enough to start the match?

I say that because unlike any other substitute in the squad the sub keeper could be called upon at any point and has to be ready and fully available. He cannot be there and only manage sixty minutes or a half, if Willy Caballero injured himself in the first minute then Hart would have had to play the rest of the ninety!

So it was a cautious move, perhaps with Pellegrini keeping an eye on their big midweek match in the Champions League.

Having Hart on the bench just gives confidence to Spurs and is a big distraction for Man City’s own defenders, who were playing together for the first time. They really needed their best keeper playing behind them and keeping them in check.

The selection faux-pas was confounded when Caballero was nowhere near the ball or commanding enough as Tottenham took the lead in the fiftieth minute!

Injuries to key players have also unsettled Manchester City just when it looked like they were going on a huge winning run.

Kompany had a tremendous start to the season and his teams defence is always the stronger with his level head playing at the heart of the defence.

Just when Eliaquim Mangala was showing why he was bought for a £30m fee, Kompany’s injury meant he had to get used to yet another defensive partner and then he too got injured.

So that meant that new boy Nicolas Otamendi and veteran Martin Demichelis had to play together for the first time in the Premier League. The partnership just didn’t gel for much of the game at White Hart Lane. It was all a bit nervy and too slow.

The City side are really missing David Silva. He is such a creative genius and helps make the team tick, but in saying that Kevin De Bruyne is doing his upmost to take on that play-making mantle.

Much was made of Raheem Sterling’s big transfer during the summer and he has settled in really well for the Citizens but he needs to do more when the chips are down and with key players missing, He cannot just do it in glimpses.

Yaya Toure is another player who has started off brilliantly well but today he was hampered by a hamstring injury and brought off just after the fifty-sixth minute.

I said earlier in the season that Man City needed a new striker after loaning out Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko. That left them with Sergio Aguero, Wilfried Bony and youngster Kelechi Iheanacho.

All fine options if they remain fully fit. But at the moment Sergio Aguero is still trying to find form and fitness, while Bony and Iheanacho were both out due to injury.

I just can’t understand why Pellegrini didn’t bring in another forward in the last transfer window.

Then you look at the subs that came on today, in particular Jesus Navas and Samir Nasri. For me, they just don’t offer enough and don’t make any meaningful impact in the bigger games. They don’t strike fear into the opposition defences.

Now it’s far from a crisis at the Etihad, City are still top of the league (At time of writing) but they have been too slack in recent weeks.

Slipping up at home to Juventus in the Champions League has added undue pressure to the squad and they have since stumbled in the league and that has handed an initiative to the chasers and in particular Manchester rivals Man United.

They really need to keep players free from injury as it seems as though this Man City squad isn’t quite as strong as we were led to believe when the season started.

The best tonic will be a big Champions League victory against Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday. Then they could comeback to the Premier League next weekend with a spring back in their step.

But today has to be a warning for Manuel Pellegrini that rotation isn’t always the best policy and that they whole side need to do more!


Goals Will Come For Spurs Man Harry Kane

Harry Kane

It’s can’t be easy being an English striker and being dubbed the next Alan Shearer.

Add on the pressure of being tagged Tottenham Hotspur’s main goalscoring threat and you can see why Harry Kane is so desperate to get back on the scoresheet for his club!

The hitman has failed to score for the White Hart Lane side so far this term. In fact it has been eight games since he last netted for Spurs.

His lack of form in front of goal has led to some to speculate that last seasons goalscoring exploits were a one time thing or that the Spurs number ten shirt might be cursed or a burden.

But for me it’s quite simple, the goals for Kane will come.

He showed in Tottenham’s League Cup defeat against London rivals Arsenal in midweek that he still has the qualities to shine as a free scoring striker.

His movement is still there and he continues to work hard. The way he took his disallowed goal showed that he still has the instincts to find the net under pressure.

Then we had the outlandish scissor kick strike that was cleared off the line. That showed any keen footballing observer that his confidence in his own ability remains in tact and that he will soon hit the back of the net.

When he finally does record that first strike, then expect him to take off and go on a rich vein of goalscoring form.

Yes he has snatched at a few chances but that comes when you are a young forward with so much expectation on your shoulders. Remember he’s still only twenty-two years old!

Harry Kane’s fantastic effort that gave England the lead over Switzerland earlier this month, proved once and for all that he has the abilities to score goals.

The player just needs to remain calm and hope he takes his next chance.

It would be totally different if he wasn’t getting in the right positions or was starting to sulk or moan at teammates.

But he just doesn’t seem phased by the fuss:

“No I wouldn’t call it a drought,”

“Everyone else probably will but I know the goals will come. Scoring for England against Switzerland was a great confidence booster and I’m not worried at all.”

With that kind of attitude I think a goal for Harry Kane is just waiting around the corner… Maybe against Premier League leaders Man City this weekend!

Could Carlo Ancelotti End Liverpool’s Italian Curse?


Struggling to a penalties victory over League Two side Carlisle United in the League Cup is going to do nothing but heap more pressure on Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.

His week wasn’t helped when two players who flopped under his management worked wonders at other sides. Mario Balotelli struck a vital freekick in a win for Milan, while Iago Aspas grabbed a double as Celta Vigo defeated FC Barcelona in La Liga.

The next three Premier League clashes for Liverpool are going to be crucial for Rodgers.

First up his side face early season strugglers Aston Villa at Anfield. That should be three points in the bag for Liverpool but the Reds haven’t won* in their last seven fixtures (*games in ninety minutes). That run has included a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of West Ham, a home draw with newly promoted Norwich and a crushing loss to rivals Man United. Lose to Villa and it could be curtains.

Then after that they have the Merseyside derby against Everton coming early next month. A big defeat to the Toffees and that could persuade the Liverpool board that Rodgers isn’t the man to take the club forward.

Then there is an away fixture against Tottenham. Spurs are a good yardstick for Rodgers and his side as they too think they should be Champions League chasers. So all eyes will be on that fixture to see how the Merseyside club perform in that clash.

As Brendan’s coat peg begins to increasingly shake, the press have been speculating on who could come in and replace the Northern Irishman.

The favourite seems to be legendary Italian boss Carlo Ancelotti. Some in the media have suggested that Liverpool have already made an approach.

Now looking at it, Ancelotti would be a terrific appointment.

If Liverpool decide to sack Rodgers, then they should go for a coach who has a huge reputation and who can come in and get the best out of his squad.

He has been a great leader at almost every club he’s managed at. Winning titles at Real Madrid, AC Milan, Chelsea and PSG.

His time at Chelsea will be seen as valuable to the Liverpool board, they’d obviously want someone who has both winning and Premier League experience.

The Italian also builds from the back and seems to get his defence right before anything else. That could be news to the ears for Liverpool fans who continually watch on as their side fail to defend in any good way.

But the Merseyside club will need to convince the fifty-six year old that Liverpool’s the best destination for him to return to football.

He announced after departing Real this summer that he was planning to take a years sabbatical and rest up after surgery. So is he ready to break that sabbatical after just a few months?

While I believe the Reds have a very decent squad, a lot of work is still required to make it a Top Four side.

The goalkeeping position, the defensive areas and possibly another forward could be needed. Carlo won’t come in unless he’s promised funds to reshape the team and that will mean another spending spree for the Liverpool board.

The club do have a lot of things in their favour with history, the fans and the clubs size being a big pluses. A return to the English Premier League could be very persuasive too.

But interestingly could Carlo end an Italian curse that seems to hanging over Anfield side?

Look at a list of Italian players who have played for the club.

Firstly they had Daniele Padelli, a dodgy keeper who was mainly used as a back-up.

Full-back Andrea Dossena arrived with a bit of a reputation but he failed to hold down a regular spot in the team and would leave for Napoli in 2010, although he did score agains Man Utd.

Alberto Aquilani joined to much fanfare after completing an £18m move. But the Midfield man struggled with injury and the pace of the game in England. Has never lived up to the hype, mainly due to more injuries.

When Brendan Rodgers arrived one of his first signings was Fabio Borini but the forward failed to make the step up. He seems more of a player when playing for smaller sides. Now at Sunderland.

Then there’s Mario Balotelli! The Italian striker has huge talent but he also has a big ego and just didn’t work well in the Liverpool team. He was ill suited to the Rodgers style and lasted just 12 months before being loaned back to Milan.

So if Carlo Ancelotti comes to Liverpool then he needs to prove that Italian’s can perform well at Anfield. In all honesty he’ll need to perform wonders to get the club where they want to be.

As I said before, he is a wonderful manager and would be a superb appointment if Liverpool sack Brendan Rodgers and make an approach.

But Brendan has three games to save his and his sides season. It’s certainly going to be an interesting few weeks coming up down Anfield way!

Rangers Still Very Much A Work In Progress


Rangers and their large fanbase came crashing back down to earth as the Championship side’s eleven game winning run came to an abrupt halt as St Johnstone cruised to a 3-1 win at Ibrox.

The Premiership team came to Glasgow with a plan, stuck to it and were rewarded.

It was a lesson for new Gers boss Mark Warburton that his squad still isn’t up to the standards that are expected of them.

In the League, Rangers have been rampant. But those performances in Scotland’s second tier papered over a few cracks, St Johnstone showed the Scottish footballing family that those cracks could be exploited.

Warburton has said throughout is Rangers reign so far that his side aren’t as ruthless as they could be.

On the back of a 3-0 victory over Peterhead last month, Warburton said:

“We have got to learn to be more clinical in front of goal in order to get our just rewards.”

“It’s important to us to keep working on breaking teams down and keep moving the ball. I was delighted with how we performed, but I just want the players to get their rewards. They worked really hard today, created a lot of chances and could have been very respectfully a lot more ahead.

He has continually repeated that point, even though Rangers were winning comfortably in the league.

It was almost as if he could see the League Cup defeat coming.

Against stiffer opposition, the Ibrox side were found wanting.

The light blues started off in similar fashion as they dictated play and looked to attack their opponents.

But they couldn’t break down the Perth outfit and the Saints side started to become more confident in their own play which was all about pace, power and discipline.

Looking at the statistics you can see just why Warburton has been banging on about his side needing to be more clinical. They had 62% of the possession compared to St Johnstone’s 38%. The Glasgow side also had more shots at goal, more free-kicks and more corners. Yet they did’t manage enough shots on target and not enough of the creative talent showed enough quality in the final third.

The Premiership side were very tough to breakdown and caught Rangers out at the back.

The Gers defence has been a bit shaky all season and this game proved to show that things still need to worked upon with the back four. I’m not convinced that central defenders Danny Wilson and Rob Kiernan have developed a good enough understanding as of yet, that was highlighted during the Saints third goal.

Michael O’Halloran and Steven Maclean continuously caused problems with pace and pressing.

The attacking, creative style that Rangers have played with s far this term has delighted the fans but against an experienced team like St Johnstone it causes too many problems with the full-backs pushed forward too much and with no real holding player in there it leaves too much space for smart, pacy opponents.

Rangers rallied after the third goal and managed to pull one back but again they failed to make any dominance pay and St Johnstone again smothered the Gers side and easily held on to their lead for the final twenty-five minutes.

mark Warburton and his assistant Davie Weir will have learned a lot about his side after their first defeat of the season. The management team and their players were out-foxed at home and that will be a huge blow to the club’s pride.

The Gers manager needs to make sure that his pool have it well drilled into them that that kind of result isn’t good enough at Ibrox. More fight and grit needs to blend in with the creative flair.

The squad need to come together and become stronger. Too many of them looked naive against St Johnstone, they need to be more streetwise and as Warburton says, they need to be clinical and ruthless with their chances and make possession count!

All the stronger sides learn from defeat and come out fighting… Can this Rangers side do that?

Well Morton will find that out on Sunday!

Surely We Can Call Peter Schmeichel World Class!


Sir Alex Ferguson is a hero of mine, I’m a bit biased as we are both proud Glaswegians.

But I think he’s got it wrong when he suggest’s that he’s only managed four world-class players.

In his new book (yes another one) he says that he believes that Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Scholes were those players that he’d class as top notch.

I personally think that’s very harsh, especially on goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel!

Now obviously these assertions are all subjective and Sir Alex will know all his players better than anyone else.

Interestingly enough when you look at those he considers worthy of the tag of being world-class are all attacking, creative talents. Those types of players always get the limelight and plaudits. They are very easy on the eye, memorable and get the goals.

But can a great team evolve without a strong defence or a top quality keeper? I don’t think so.

For me, Manchester United wouldn’t have had the same success under Sir Alex Ferguson throughout the nineties if they didn’t have Schmeichel in between the goalposts.

The tall Danish goalie was a huge presence and he would help rescue many games and points in the favour of his side.

He made the star-jump dive his trademark move. Strikers would crumble during one on one situations with him and he produced superb saves throughout his time at Old Trafford (notably his save against Newcastle United in 1997).

Without his huge penalty save against Arsenal’s Dennis Bergkamp in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final, United’s hopes of a treble winning season would have been in tatters.

It took Fergie six years to properly replace Peter at United with Edwin van der Sar. 

Ferguson called Peter Schmeichel:

‘Bargain of the century’

Dutchman Van der Sar and current number one David De Gea are/were also terrific keepers of the gloves but they didn’t have the stature of the Great Dane, who was named UEFA goalkeeper of the year on four different occasions.

Obviously Roy Keane could also be considered world-class but I’d imagine his bitter tiff with Ferguson has seen him also left off the list.

The retired gaffer states that at the moment the only truly world-class talent in today’s game is Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

I kind of agree with that. I don’t think they are the only world-class players playing today, I would actually say that they are a level above world-class. They are phenomenal!

But surely we can say players (again goalkeepers) like Gianluigi Buffon and Manuel Neuer are world-class.

I feel sorry for the keepers, in footballing history and in the current day, it’s such a tough role in the team and yet they never get the credit that they deserve.

Peter Schmeichel won everything at Man United (Cantona didn’t), won an international title (Cantona, Ronaldo, Scholes and Giggs haven’t) and has to be up there as one of the best goalkeepers of all time.

So for me, I would definitely say that Peter Schmeichel was a world-class footballer!